Zimmermann Surname Meaning and Family History

The Zimmermann surname means carpenter.
Guido Mieth / Getty Images

The Zimmermann / Zimmerman surname originated as the German occupational name Zimmermann derived from the German word for "carpenter." From the Middle High German zimber, meaning "timber, wood" and mann, "man." This surname was sometimes Americanized as Carpenter.

  • Zimmermann is the 20th most common German surname
  • Surname Origin: German, Jewish

Famous People with the Surname Zimmermann

  • Rachel Zimmerman: inventor of the Blissymbol printer
  • Arthur Zimmermann: State Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the German Empire during WWI; author of the infamous Zimmermann Telegram
  • Jordan Zimmermann: American professional MLB baseball pitcher 
  • Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman): American singer-songwriter

Where the Zimmermann Surname is Most Commonly Found

Surname distribution data on Forebears ranks Zimmermann as the 20th most common surname in Germany, while the Zimmerman spelling is more common in the United States. Zimmermann is also very common in Switzerland, where it ranks 14th in the nation, and in Austria, where it comes in 66th. WorldNames PublicProfiler indicates that the Zimmermann surname is fairly common throughout Germany, with a slight edge in the regions of Sachsen, Rheinland-Pfalz, Baden-Württemberg, and Thüringen, as well as Alsace, France.

According to surname distribution maps from Verwandt.de, there are over 119,000 individuals with the Zimmermann surname living in Germany. The greatest numbers are found around the cities of Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, and Munich, as well as a cluster around Rhein-Neckar-Kreis and Karlsruhe.

Genealogy Resources

Common German Surnames & Their Meanings: Uncover the meaning of your German last name with this free guide to German surnames meanings and origins.

Zimmerman Family Crest: Contrary to what you may hear, there is no such thing as a Zimmerman family crest or coat of arms for the Zimmerman surname. Coats of arms are granted to individuals, not families, and may rightfully be used only by the uninterrupted male line descendants of the person to whom the coat of arms was originally granted.

Carpenter Cousins Y-DNA Project: This project is focused on individuals with the Carpenter, Zimmerman and variant surnames interested in using Y-DNA testing and traditional genealogical research to identify genetically distinct Carpenter and Zimmerman lines, both English and German.

Zimmerman Family Genealogy Forum: Search this popular genealogy forum for the Zimmerman surname to find others who might be researching your ancestors, or post your own Zimmerman query. There is also a separate forum for the Zimmermann spelling.

FamilySearch: Explore over 1.5 million historical records which mention individuals with the Zimmerman surname, as well as online Zimmerman family trees on this free website hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Surname & Family Mailing Lists: RootsWeb hosts a free mailing list for researchers of the Zimmerman surname, as well as a separate list for the Zimmermann spelling.

DistantCousin.com: Explore free databases and genealogy links for the last name Zimmermann.

GeneaNet: GeneaNet includes archival records, family trees, and other resources for individuals with the Zimmerman surname, with a concentration on records and families from France, Germany, and other European countries.

The Zimmermann Genealogy and Family Tree Page: Browse family trees and links to genealogical and historical records for individuals with the last name Zimmermann from the website of Genealogy Today.


  • Cottle, Basil. Penguin Dictionary of Surnames. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1967.
  • Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Collins Celtic (Pocket edition), 1998.
  • Fucilla, Joseph. Our Italian Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 2003.
  • Hanks, Patrick and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1989.
  • Hanks, Patrick. Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford University Press, 2003.
  • Reaney, P.H. A Dictionary of English Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1997.
  • Smith, Elsdon C. American Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997.
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Powell, Kimberly. "Zimmermann Surname Meaning and Family History." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, thoughtco.com/zimmermann-surname-meaning-and-family-history-4080291. Powell, Kimberly. (2021, February 16). Zimmermann Surname Meaning and Family History. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/zimmermann-surname-meaning-and-family-history-4080291 Powell, Kimberly. "Zimmermann Surname Meaning and Family History." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/zimmermann-surname-meaning-and-family-history-4080291 (accessed June 5, 2023).